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Love of music in early childhood


Where is science going?
Gerald Edelman Scientist
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It may be that my judgments on the subject are governed by nostalgia which I consider to be a potentially dangerous emotion, but I think there is some warrant in what I'm saying: that, in effect, what's happened is a gigantic speeding up and maybe even a superficialization and a contraction of the time at which you have to perform a certain function. And, you know, thinking deeply is like making a baby. I don't... I hope that this isn't interpreted prejudicially but you don't make a baby by getting nine women pregnant one month each. It takes nine months and, even if it's premature, it requires very special traits; you can't go below a certain time. So there's a kind of movement of pregnancy – a kind of developmental period that is not favored by the present set of criteria. And I think that's unfortunate because I think really the great hope of originality in science does start with youth, with the new look, with having people who have enormous energy in whatever their motivations, and not necessarily directly, although it's never been absent, by careerism: pure and simple. If you have careerism pure and simple you push the peanut the next step... yes, you can do it very well, but you're not inclined to sort of back up like Einstein and sort of see things in a very broad way. So I would hope that there would be some effort or means or accident even that would open up this notion of the more tranquil set-up in which older people and younger people could move, to try the business of craziness.

US biologist Gerald Edelman (1929-2014) successfully constructed a precise model of an antibody, a protein used by the body to neutralise harmful bacteria or viruses and it was this work that won him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1972 jointly with Rodney R Porter. He then turned his attention to neuroscience, focusing on neural Darwinism, an influential theory of brain function.

Listeners: Ralph J. Greenspan

Dr. Greenspan has worked on the genetic and neurobiological basis of behavior in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) almost since the inception of the field, studying with one of its founders, Jeffery Hall, at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, where he received his Ph.D. in biology in 1979. He subsequently taught and conducted research at Princeton University and New York University where he ran the W.M. Keck Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, relocating to San Diego in 1997 to become a Senior Fellow in Experimental Neurobiology at The Neurosciences Institute. Dr. Greenspan’s research accomplishments include studies of physiological and behavioral consequences of mutations in a neurotransmitter system affecting one of the brain's principal chemical signals, studies making highly localized genetic alterations in the nervous system to alter behavior, molecular identification of genes causing naturally occurring variation in behavior, and the demonstration that the fly has sleep-like and attention-like behavior similar to that of mammals. Dr. Greenspan has been awarded fellowships from the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, the Searle Scholars Program, the McKnight Foundation, the Sloan Foundation and the Klingenstein Foundation. In addition to authoring research papers in journals such as "Science", "Nature", "Cell", "Neuron", and "Current Biology", he is also author of an article on the subject of genes and behavior for "Scientific American" and several books, including "Genetic Neurobiology" with Jeffrey Hall and William Harris, "Flexibility and Constraint in Behavioral Systems" with C.P. Kyriacou, and "Fly Pushing: The Theory and Practice of Drosophila Genetics", which has become a standard work in all fruit fly laboratories.

Tags: pregnancy, baby, science, careerism

Duration: 1 minute, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008